It’s just past halfway through the season and if the Canucks were still in high school, they would be getting mid term report cards. Obviously they aren’t, but that isn’t going to stop me from handing them out regardless. Without further ado, here are the grades for your Vancouver Canucks’ forwards heading into the All-Star break.
Daniel Sedin: (A)
Phenomenal on the PP and already boasting a team best 21 goals, it’s hard to say much on the negative about Daniel. So long as he keeps it up, there is no reason he shouldn’t be contending for the Art Ross once again.
Henrik Sedin (A-)
With a league leading 41 assists, the only reason he has a slightly lower grade than his twin is because of the “C” on his chest. It is Henrik’s responsibility to lead by example and he needs to be given a piece of the blame for the team’s shaky start.
Alex Burrows (B+)
Burrows has been the pinnacle of consistency this year for the Canucks. After a slight fall off last season, he is right back on track for a repeat of his 35 goal ’09-’10 campaign. For fantasy owners, he takes penalties, shots, and has already close to matched his best PP points in a season. No wonder he was so good at ball hockey…
Mason Raymond (B-)
You have to give the kid credit; he returned after a severe back injury during the Cup Playoffs and would be on pace for a 45 point season if he had got to lace up on day 1. B- for performance and not pulling the trigger fast enough in the offensive zone, A for heart.
Chris Higgins (B)
It’s hard to argue with Higgins’ numbers; he is back on track for a 50 point season, the first time since ’07-’08 when he was still with Montreal. He is even shooting again with 95 shots on the season so far. My only complaint is a slight drop-off in goals compared to his career-high, but this is still the best hockey he has played in 4 years.
David Booth (B-)
Just as things seemed to be going right for Booth, he got knocked out for 6 weeks against Colorado. Now heading into the All-Star break, Booth is on a 3 game goal streak and has picked up just where he left off. It took him about 10 games to find his footing, but any player traded after 6 brutal years in Florida deserves a bit of leeway.
Janik Hansen (A-)
Without a doubt, Hansen is the most under-rated forward on the entire Vancouver Canucks and possibly in the NHL. The guy is just fantastic. Insane foot-speed, an explosive start and a wicked wrist shot. The only thing he is missing is slightly softer hands on the break away. 3 short-handed points and 25 points total this season marks ’11-’12 as Hansen’s coming out party.
Manny Malhotra (C+)
After what could have been a career-ending eye injury, Malhotra is back this season and is playing like his dependable old self again. He leads the Canucks in face-off percentage, but is showing a slight drop off in points. Not to mention a pretty brutal -7, his worst since he played in Columbus. There is plenty of room for Manny to step it up after the break.
Cody Hodgson (B+)
After a couple years in the minors, Hodgson has silenced the trade talks and isn’t leaving anytime soon. He is easily capable of putting up 60 points and will be fighting for the Calder by the end of the season. There’s nothing more satisfying than watching a development program pay off.
Ryan Kesler (B)
let’s be honest for a second… Kesler came back too soon. But realistically, unless Vigneault chained him to the bench he would have been back long before. Kesler’s numbers are slightly below average but that can be attributed primarily to a slow start. It’s fairly difficult to find fault in a person when their game plan is give 3000% every time they lace up.
Maxim Lapierre (C)
The only difference between this season and last is the astounding number of penalty minutes Lapierre has managed to put up considering he doesn’t fight (91 for anyone counting). Coupled with a -6, Lapierre isn’t showing any signs of returning to his career-high 28 point season with Montreal. Well, except for this:
Dale Weise (C)
Weise is there to chew up minutes and grind the puck out. His only redeeming factor is that he has the best plus minus on the 4th line. End of story.